How Many Marys Are In the Bible? (Compare Them All)


The name “Mary” appears many times in the New Testament and in some of its most significant stories. Readers encounter a woman named “Mary” in the Gospels, the book of Acts, and in one of Paul’s letters. A “Mary” was at Jesus’ birth, his death, his resurrection, and in a passage that describes the first days of the early church.

There are six different Marys mentioned in the New Testament. The most well-known is the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary Magdalene plays an important role in the Gospels. Mary, the mother of James and Joses, is also important. There are three other Marys mentioned as well.

How does the New Testament distinguish between the different Marys? Which Mary (or Marys) was present at the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus? What is each Mary known for? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

Christian Bible
What does the name “Mary” mean? See below

All 6 Marys in the New Testament: A Summary

The Greek name, translated “Mary” in English Bibles, is derived from the Hebrew name, Miriam (e.g. the sister of Moses). The exact meaning of the Greek name isn’t certain. Some scholars think that it may mean “plump one,” which may be an allusion to her miraculous pregnancy.

The meaning of the Hebrew Miriam makes allusions to rebelliousness, likely because of Miriam’s criticisms of Moses (e.g. Num. 12). While Miriam’s narrative in the Old Testament includes moments of rebellion, Mary’s narrative in the New Testament doesn’t.

1. The Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus

Known as the “Virgin Mary” in Christian history because of her supernatural pregnancy, Mary was a descendant of David and married to Joseph. She was also the relative of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

As Matthew and Luke record, Mary gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus, whom the Gospels identify as God incarnate (John 1:1, 1:14). She conceived him miraculously by means of the Holy Spirit.

Besides Jesus’ early life, Mary was present for some of the most important events recorded in the Gospels. She was present at Jesus’ first miracle, which he performed at the Wedding at Cana, and plays an important role in the dialogue. She was also present at the crucifixion and in the early days of the Church.

VerseESV
Matthew 1:18-25Now the birth of Jesus Christe took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
Luke 2:1-20And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (v. 7)
Matthew 2:13-15Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (v. 13)
John 2:1-11When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (v. 3-4)
John 19:25Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Acts 1:14All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Mary’s influence can be found in the books of Luke and Acts. Many New Testament scholars believe that Mary was likely one of Luke’s sources for the Gospel that bears his name and its sequel, the book of Acts.

2. Mary, the Mother of James and Joses

Mary, the mother of James and Joses, isn’t as prominent a figure in the New Testament as Jesus’ mother. However, she was at important events in the Gospels, like Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Most likely, she was also the Mary that was the wife of Clopas.

VerseESV
Matthew 27:56among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Mark 15:40There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.
Luke 24:10Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,
John 19:25Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Matthew 28:1Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
Virgin Mary
Who was John Mark’s mother? See below

3. Mary Magdalene

After the Virgin Mary, Mary Madalene is probably the most well-known Mary in the New Testament. Mark and Luke identify Mary as the one whom Jesus had rescued from demons.

After she had been healed, she became a follower of Jesus and was associated with Mary, Jesus’ mother. She was present at the crucifixion and resurrection.

VerseESV
Mark 16:9Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
Luke 8:2and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out
Matthew 27:55-56There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Mark 15:40-41There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. (v. 40)
John 19:25but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
VerseESV
Matthew 27:61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
Matthew 28:1-8After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. (v. 1)
Luke 24:1-12Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. (v. 10-11)
John 20:1-9Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (v. 1)
John 20:18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”— and that he had said these things to her.

4. Mary of Bethany

Mary of Bethany is associated with two well-known passages in the Gospel of John. First, she is one of the sisters of Lazarus who Jesus raised from the dead. Second, anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and wife them with her hair.

VerseESV
John 11:1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Luke 10:42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.
John 12:3Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
statue of Mary
Who is Mary of Rome? See below

5. Mary, mother of John Mark

Mary, the mother of Mark, also called according to his full name John Mark, is mentioned twice in the New Testament. Not much is known about her.

VerseESV
Colossians 4:10Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions— if he comes to you, welcome him)
Acts 12:12When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.

6. Mary of Rome

Very little is known about the Mary that Paul mentions in the book of Romans. The verse indicates she was a believer who faithfully served the church in Rome.

VerseESV
Romans 16:6Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.

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